Monday, 19 December 2011
Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publication Date: October 26th, 2010
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Dash just isn’t a Christmas person. This year, he’s managed to take advantage of his parents’ divorce by telling each of them he’s spending the holidays with the other, so he can be alone. Among the bookshelves of the Strand in New York, Dash finds a red moleskine notebook challenging him to a series of dares. Lily, the owner of the notebook, loves everything Christmas and even organized her own choir group. The notebook was her brother’s idea, in efforts to find her the perfect guy. As Dash and Lily get to know each other through writing in the notebook, they embark on an adventure throughout Manhattan. Although there is undeniably a special magic between the two of them on paper, what will happen when they actually meet? Is meeting worth the risk, or should they keep things on the page?
I love Christmas so much and there doesn’t seem to be enough YA books about the winter holidays. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is a YA Christmas book, and that was what lead me to picking it up. This is Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s third book together. I loved Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist but wasn’t so keen on Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. All of their three books share a New York setting and feature alternating narrators. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Dash and Lily, since Naomi and Ely was a let down for me. At first, I couldn’t stand Dash’s pretentious narration. However, the interesting concept kept me reading. I’m not sure if I got used to Dash’s snobbery or if it was toned down later, but he stopped bothering me as I kept reading. Midway through, I thought Dash was alright, and while Lily would be perfect for him, I didn’t think he’d be perfect for her. By the end, I could look past his snarly demeanor and love him for his loyalty. I liked Lily from the start, but had this nagging feeling that she was exactly like someone I used to know. Someone who also likes Salinger, singing Christmas carols and wearing beat up chucks and thick black glasses. Someone who acts just like her…. Then it hit me: Lily reminds me of me at sixteen. For this reason, I really took to her and loved the chapters from her perspective. The story was fun and original. While Lily originally leaves the notebook beside a copy of Franny and Zooey with a scavenger hunt for the finder, later Dash and Lily pass the notebook back and forth while giving clues to where the other person should leave it. Their dares take them throughout New York City, and I thought the writers fully utilized an amazing setting. It made me want to visit New York at Christmas (and the Strand!) The plot may not sound that interesting, but the way it was carried out was perfect. There were times when I actually laughed out loud (code crimson) and there were so many adorable parts. This book captured the magic of Christmas and made me forget that it was still fall when I read it.
Christmas festiveness? Check. Great setting? Check. An entertaining and engaging plot? Check. Adventure, fun characters and some mild flirtation through a notebook? Check, check, check. Despite a few minor annoyances in the beginning, I loved this book. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was an amazing holiday read that left me smiling.
“It's only a game if there is an absence of meaning. And we've already gone too far for that.”